Malawi’s export earnings from fish jumped by 8.55 percent in 2016 buoyed by increased export volumes, the Ministry of Finance has said.
In its 2017 economic report, the ministry said Malawi realised a total of $222,280 from fish exports in 2016, up from $204,765 realised in 2015.
This was mainly due to a surge in exported fish volumes as a total of 36,147 live fish were exported in 2016 as compared 31,397 live fish exported in 2015.
The exports were to 11 countries namely Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, United Kingdom and the USA.
According to the economic report, Germany imported the greatest value of fish from Malawi at K58, 414, 957 followed by Hong Kong at K46, 358, 866.
In terms of volumes, Germany imported 37 percent of fish from Malawi with Hong Kong at 29 percent, USA at 10 percent Denmark 7 percent, UK 6 percent and France at 4 percent.
During the whole of 2016, fish catch from all water bodies jumped 8.98 percent to hit 157,267 tonnes as compared to 144,315 tonnes recorded in 2016.
“Lake Malawi alone registered a total landing of 147, 972 tonnes when artisanal and commercial production figures are added at 143,556 and 4,416, respectively, followed by Lake Malombe at 4,053 tonnes, Lake
Chilwa 2,834 tonnes, Lake Chiuta 1,298 tonnes and the Shire River System 1,111 tonnes.
“Lake Malawi represents 94.1 percent of the catch, whilst the other water bodies of Lake Malombe, Lake Chilwa and Lake
Chiuta contributed minimal figures of 2.6 percent, 1.8 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively. This implies that Lake Malawi continues to be the major source of fish for the country,” the report says.
Currently, Malawi is in the process of hunting for oil on Lake Malawi, a development environmental activists warn could affect the fish industry in the country.
President Peter Mutharika recently maintained that oil drilling will continue in the Lake Malawi despite calls from environmentalist to Malawi government to abandon the oil and gas project.
“Those who worry about our plans to explore and drill oil have no reason to fear. If we decide to drill oil in the lake, we will ensure to use on-shore clean technology.
“We value our Lake and we will ensure we implement measures to protect it, at all cost,” Mutharika said during this year’s World Water Day commemorations.